Walt Disney World's Wilderness Lodge has rejoined AAA's prestigious four-diamond list, one of only seven Florida properties to be added to the list this year.
The hotel, inspired by turn-of-the-century national park lodges, is known for its log-cabin theme and Pacific Northwest décor. It was first named a four-diamond hotel in 1996. AAA could not say Monday when the hotel fell off the list.
It joins 33 others in Central Florida that are already on the AAA four-diamond list, which includes properties ranging from the Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes to the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando.
Auto Club AAA, based in Heathrow, has been rating hotels with one to five diamonds since the 1960s. The four-diamond rating is the organization's second highest, given to 5.3 percent of the more than 29,000 hotels approved by AAA.
Five diamonds — the upper echelon of AAA's rating system — is even harder to come by, given to just 0.4 percent of hotels reviewed by AAA.
"Four- and five-diamond hotels and restaurants provide guests with a luxurious experience that tailors to their every need," said Mark Jenkins, a AAA spokesman. "These establishments consistently exceed the expectations of the most discriminating traveler — the AAA inspector."
Disney said its Wilderness Lodge was refurbished in 2012. Guest rooms got new fabrics, paint and carpeting, and Disney added character accents in the rooms. The main areas and corridors also were renovated.
"As with our parks, our resort hotels are about exceeding guests' expectations, and we're very pleased with this designation," said Rick Sylvain, a Disney spokesman.
For yet another year, the Orlando area left empty-handed when it came to five-diamond hotels, but that could change soon with the opening of the is Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. The hotel, which is scheduled to open Aug. 3, will likely be a candidate for the premier rating.
Orlando residents can still get five-diamond service locally, but they'll have to seek it at a restaurant. Victoria & Albert's, a fine-dining restaurant in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, has been rated five diamonds for more than a decade.
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Central Florida's four-diamond hotels (with year they got the designation):
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge-Jambo House (2011)
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani Village (2011)
Disney's Beach Club Resort (2003)
Disney's BoardWalk Inn (2009)
Disney's Contemporary Resort (2007)
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (1989)
Disney's Polynesian Resort (2007)